I was fortunate enough to catch a signing with James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner and the newer The Eye of Minds series at my local Barnes and Noble! It was great. I got three books signed, a bunch of swag, and he had a Q&A.
Here are the questions he was asked and his answers. (I am paraphrasing, because my typing isn’t as fast as his talking, but I think you get the general feel for his answers!)
1. They’re not putting in the telepathy between Thomas and Teresa in the movie, how do you feel about this?
I promise you, you don’t have to worry about it. A book to movie adaptation always has purposeful changes and I extremely approve. Telepathy doesn’t work so well on the big screen. The director wanted to show — in another way — a special connection between Thomas and Teresa. And it’s not romantic. There is not even a kiss in this movie. This movie is not a romance, there might be a hint of it later, but it did not fit this movie at all.
2. If you could be any character in the book series who would you be?
Minko. Reckless and fearless, but loyal.
3. How many rejections before it was taken on?
It’s just like high school. Rejection is part of the game. The Maze Runner was rejected 10-15 time throughout the years, and deservedly so. The first few drafts were not ready to be published. It was five years, about, before Random House picked it up. I had put it away for a year, year and a half, but finally it happened. And now there is a movie coming out!
4. Do you like killing off your characters?
I do not enjoy killing people. It’s always hard. There were a couple of deaths that were very hard for me. In the movie process the deaths have become more real for me. It’s like I’m experiencing it all over again.
5. Do you like plot twists?
Yes! I love them. If something can fool or shock me than it makes me super excited. They’re fun to come up with and fun for readers. The Eye of Minds is probably the hardest I’ve ever worked to plan out a plotline.
6. What inspired you to be an author?
It’s something I wanted to do my whole life. I love the process so much and love reading so much. In high school I got serious about it. In college I wrote my first novel. Now I have two series out and a movie!
7. Do you know the ending as you go into a story?
I try to know, because every word and sentence will lead to the end. I plan it out, but I’m willing to change if something more fitting comes along. If something hits you like “yes! That works better!” than go for it.
8. Chuck told Thomas he was ugly in the book so why is Dylan O’Brian so attractive?
Chuck is young. He’s not going to tell anyone he’s handsome. No, the twelve year old is going to call him ugly! And obviously they chose someone as good looking as Dylan to play Thomas. I think we can agree. He is a good looking guy. (I certainly agree!! -Kaitlin)
9. What was the first spark of idea for the Maze Runner?
I saw The Shining. It scarred me. One of the scenes made me love, love, mazes. Also, Lord of The Flies — it’s a great book, I loved it. I tried to show a different side of humanity though, because in that one they all sort of kill each other. Sorry I spoiled it. Ha, about to do it again. Darth Vader is Luke’s father! Anyway the characters in my book are so determined to survive they band together, opposite to The Lord of the Flies.
10. What was your inspiration for the Grievers?
It was important to me to have a scary aspect, something terrifying out in the maze. And I didn’t want anything that had been used. I wanted to make up something myself, so no werewolves, no vampires. Some of my inspirations came together into the Grievers. In the movie they’re a little different but it really works for the cinema screen! You will hate them and love them.
Dashner was very nice and chatted a tiny bit as he signed my books! (That’s him on the far right.)
I got lots of swag including four pins, a holographic bookmark, and a sticker than said “Shuck It!”
Altogether it was a fun experience meeting James Dashner!